Hong Kong police, on Sunday (March 26), permitted a small protest where dozens of people took part since major COVID-19-related restrictions were lifted. The demonstration which took place under tight restrictions is also one of the first ones since the enactment of a sweeping National Security Law (NSL) in 2020. Several images of the protest show people wearing numbered badges around their necks and were also reportedly barred from face masks.
The protesters chanted slogans against the proposed land reclamation and garbage processing facilities and were from the eastern district of Tseung Kwan O where the project is to be built. The rules imposed by the police citing security reasons come as the financial hub has sought to return to normalcy after years of COVID-related restrictions and political turmoil. Prior to China imposing the National Security Law, in a bid to quash dissent, Hong Kong was rocked by pro-democracy unrest. Additionally, given the COVID-related restrictions like the social-distancing measures there have been fewer smaller protests in the financial hub. The police had also capped the number of demonstrators to 100 which garnered criticism from some.
The turnout at Sunday’s protest was around 80 or so people who expressed their opposition to the proposed plans, said the organizers. Furthermore, the participants on Sunday were also asked not to wear all-black, something protesters did during the 2019 pro-democracy demonstrations, as they walked in a cordoned-off moving line in the rain amid heavy police presence.